As I walked into the foyer of the synagogue on Saturday morning, I was greeted by a posterboard bearing the names and faces of the 11 innocent Jewish souls murdered last week in Pittsburgh.
Worshippers attend a “Show Up For Shabbat” service at JCC Harlem following last Saturday’s shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, in Pittsburgh, in Manhattan, New York, November 3, 2018. (photo credit: ANDREW KELLY / REUTERS)
TEANECK, New Jersey – For as long as I can remember, there have been security guards posted both inside and outside my parents’ synagogue in Teaneck, New Jersey. They’re a fixture of Shabbat – a sight as expected as men in tallitot walking into the sanctuary and small children dashing through the hallways.
But walking past those men and women this Saturday morning was a stark and gut-wrenching reminder of the events of last weekend. And it was a painful and depressing indication of the need to provide protection to American Jews while they worship. I have never encountered security while attending services in Jerusalem; but it is always more than likely that several congregants are armed. In Israel, Jews gathered anywhere at any time are a target for terrorist murderers. In the United States, a madman violated the sanctity of a synagogue to target Jewish people in the most cruel and heartbreaking way imaginable.
As I walked into the foyer of the synagogue on Saturday morning, I was greeted by a posterboard bearing the names and faces of the 11 innocent Jewish souls murdered last week in Pittsburgh. Just beyond that was another board, featuring the smiling face of a bar mitzvah boy celebrating a milestone birthday this weekend.
In even the darkest periods of mourning, Jewish life goes on. And inside that sanctuary, joy and pain mingled during the first Shabbat morning services since the deadliest attack on the American Jewish community in memory.
As a police car blocked the entrance to the synagogue’s parking lot, little girls handed out candy bags to congregants to lob at the bar mitzvah boy. As the 13-year-old recited his Torah portion, a volunteer guard patrolled the perimeter of the building. And as the rabbi finished his sermon, the mayor of Teaneck – Mohammed Hameeduddin – showed up to send a silent message of support. At times it was standing-room only in the 600-seat sanctuary at just one of the three services held in the building that morning.
ACROSS THE United States on Saturday, many Jews returned to synagogues for the first time since a monster opened fire in a synagogue in Pittsburgh murdering 11 Jews while they were praying. Around the country, many of those who aren’t regular attendees showed up as a sign of solidarity with the Tree of Life Synagogue and with the American Jewish community as a whole. The American Jewish Committee started the campaign #ShowUpforShabbat, urging people to join services somewhere this weekend. The Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey called for a “Solidarity Shabbat” _ and 80 Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and Chabad synagogues signed on. The Brandeis University Hillel invited the entire community to Friday night services and dinner. The president of the Prospect Heights Shul in Brooklyn called on community members to wear a tallit on the street as they walked to synagogue. In Los Angeles, Jewish Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke at an interfaith event at a temple in the city on Friday evening.
I asked friends and family around the US about their experiences on Shabbat – both those who normally attend synagogue and others who chose specifically to turn up this week.
What they described paints a picture of a Jewish community shaken, but resolute. Synagogues across the United States – already concerned with security – are on even higher alert.
For the past week, the American Jewish community – and in many ways, the global Jewish community – mourned and grieved this terrible loss. But it also steeled itself and prepared for this weekend, refusing to back down in the face of violent hate. Thousands of synagogues, Jewish centers and schools alerted their members throughout the week about extra security protection and measures being taken. Rabbis of all denominations penned sermons trying to make some sense of such a senseless loss, and offer solace and strength to congregants. Lay leaders volunteered to coordinate with city officials and police departments to offer a sense of security to a rattled community.
It is 2018, and Jews in the United States are praying to God behind locked doors and armed guards. But they will keep praying.
The US Treasury added three top Hezbollah figures to its list of sanctioned individuals on Tuesday, including two members of the Lebanese Parliament and a security official responsible for coordinating between Hezbollah and Lebanon’s security agencies.
It was the first time the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control had designated a member of Lebanon’s Parliament under a sanctions list that targets those accused by Washington of providing support to terrorist organizations. Washington has designated Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
South African fans in Cairo celebrating their team’s win over Egypt at the African Cup of Nations. Photo: Reuters / Sumaya Hisham.
Three days after South Africa stunned the world of international soccer by knocking hosts Egypt out of the 2019 African Cup of Nations, the sound of elation remains clearly detectable in the voice of the team’s Jewish midfielder, Dean Furman.
“It was a fantastic victory, just fantastic,” Furman told The Algemeiner during a break in training on Tuesday, as South Africa prepared for its crucial quarterfinal game against Nigeria, another of the continent’s toughest sides, tomorrow.
Pieter van Oordt, left, with his brother, Roger, at the Israel
For the second time in recent history, a Dutch Christian organization dedicated to supporting Israel has gone head-to-head with the government. With their family tradition of belief in Israel that preceded the state of Israel by almost one hundred years, it seems unlikely that the van Oordts are about to back down, no matter what the odds.
Last month, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy made a request from the management of the Israel Products Center (IPC) to ensure they were in compliance with regulations adopted in 2015 by the European Commission requiring products made by Jewish owned companies in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights, and sections of Jerusalem to be labeled in a manner indicating their origins.
Studies have shown that dairy cows contribute large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, caused by the organisms living in their microbiomes.
Genetically modifying cows may help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and feed world populations, a new study led by Prof. Itzhak Mizrahi of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev suggests.
“Our findings are both a major breakthrough for basic science and will have a positive impact on two major challenges facing the international community for the foreseeable future: climate change and food security,” Mizrahi said.
The decision by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi to promote Brig. Gen. Ofer Winter reflects his future political aspirations.
Incoming Israeli Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi walks out at the end of a handover ceremony where he replaces Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, Jan. 15, 2019.
Israel has its own version of Napoleon’s famous saying, “Every soldier carries a marshal’s baton in his pack.” In these parts, every general carries a prime minister’s baton — or at least that of a defense minister — in his pack
As Islamist Watch has pointed out many times before, Islam is enormously diverse – containing many competing schools of theology, schools of jurisprudence, sects, ethnicities, cultures and mysticisms. Islamism is also not a single force; it comprises dozens of (both) competing and collaborating radical ideologies.
One of the most intriguing divisions, then, within both American Islam and Islamism of late has been growing dissent over the question of liberalism.
Right after Trump’s inauguration, I ran an article about how incredibly fake the news coverage was about his inauguration. (Those reading my site know I’m not a big Trump fan, but credit where credit is due and calling fake where calling fake is due.) The media was nothing short of spectacularly fake in the news it contrived that week on CNN, the New York Times and the other major fake media, and they mostly got away with it.
It wasn’t condescension or contempt. Recent remarks by former Mossad head Shabtai Shavit reek of racism. That is the proper way to frame them, calling them anything else is letting him off easy. In its classic, formal sense, racism is when a certain social sector perceives itself as superior because of clear racial criteria. Shavit represents an updated version of racism that doesn’t require ethnicity or religion as proof of a defect – you can call it “essential racism.”
Little Napoleon Barak is going to save Israeli Democracy? What a bunch of claptrap Orwellian doublespeak.
Well let’s check out history. How well did the original Napoleon save France’s democratic revolution against the monarchy?
Hmm, if I recall he crowned himself emperor!
For years, the pundits have been telling us that Israeli democracy is in danger because of the Arab birthrate, or because of the Jewish nation-state law, or because of the debates over the powers of Israel’s High Court.
I wonder if they will recognize the danger posed by the 10 left-wing American Jewish organizations that have formed a new umbrella organization, the essential purpose of which is to undermine Israeli democracy.